Community Digest

Top new questions this week:

What is the "two-drive trick" that can read Amiga disks on a PC?

Standard belief is that the floppy disk controllers used on PCs are incapable of reading Amiga floppy disks, due to the PC disk controller expecting a very specific low-level format of disks, whilst ...

amiga floppy-disk  
asked by Richard Downer 47 votes
answered by Quasi_Stomach 57 votes

Why were some early PC 3D cards unsuitable for 2D graphics?

Some of the early PC 3D graphics cards such as the 3dfx Voodoo Graphics cards had a passthrough port to enable them to switch to a secondary card to display 2D graphics. I am curious to know why these ...

ibm-pc graphics video  
asked by user3570736 39 votes
answered by Stephen Kitt 56 votes

How does the C64 get an accurate TOD clock on 50 Hz power?

The C64 has two Time of Day (TOD) clocks, one in each of its 6526 CIA chips U1 and U2. These calculate time based on a 60 Hz or 50 Hz input to the TOD pin (pin 19); the clock input frequency assumed ...

commodore-64 power  
asked by Curt J. Sampson 17 votes
answered by Raffzahn 12 votes

What is the "Data Language" paper referenced in RFC 309?

RFC 309 is an announcement of the 1972 Data and File Transfer Workshop announcement. The suggested reading section has 12 entries, 11 of which are RFCs and the last of which is: 8. Data ...

history internet documentation  
asked by wizzwizz4 11 votes
answered by snips-n-snails 12 votes

What are my modern options for loading programs and data files on the Apple IIc?

I've recently acquired an Apple IIc. The internal 5.25" drive does seem to make appropriate noises at boot, but I do not (at least not yet) have any floppy disks, with software or otherwise. It's an ...

apple-ii data-transfer  
asked by Curt J. Sampson 11 votes
answered by Nick Westgate 13 votes

Getting data from Seagate ST-238R drive

Hello: I have an old Seagate ST-238R drive. I'm the original owner and it stopped working in the early-90s when I foolishly deleted system files to make room for a football game. (I was 12 at the ...

hardware hard-disk  
asked by Joego 11 votes
answered by StarCat 16 votes

What other tricks were there to get more data onto floppy disks?

I remember using a utility back in MS Dos 3.3 days, called maxi-disk, that somehow magically managed to get 420K on a 360K 5 1/4" disks. I assume it managed it by destroying some redundancy like a ...

ms-dos floppy-disk  
asked by user230910 10 votes
answered by Spektre 7 votes

Greatest hits from previous weeks:

What does a Nintendo Game Boy do when turned on without a game cartridge inserted?

When a Nintendo Game Boy is turned on, it displays a logo read from the cartridge (looking like this) before starting the game. What does it display if there's no cartridge inserted from which to read ...

asked by Curt J. Sampson 26 votes
answered by Kaz 32 votes

How was it back then in 1984, when the Apple II had color, and the new Macintosh didn't?

I imagine it being a huge downgrade for some, not to have color on the Macintosh. Macintosh games were black and white in the beginning, while Apple II had color. I'm especially interested in ...

apple-ii apple-macintosh apple color-display  
asked by Johannes Bittner 44 votes
answered by John Dallman 88 votes

Why did computers use a power supply with a socket?

Most home electrical appliances use a fixed power cord and have a on/off switch near the front. I was in many government electronics labs and that cord and socket was not used i.e HP test equipment. ...

hardware history power case  
asked by jwzumwalt 27 votes

Why do articles use the term "UART" instead of "serial port"?

I am learning about old computers, and I have found the following image from this article: They use the terms "UART" instead of "serial port" and "UART driver" instead of "serial port driver", I ...

hardware history serial  
asked by user7127 31 votes
answered by Ross Ridge 47 votes

Why use static RAM addresses instead of the stack?

I'm studying the 65c816 assembly for the 1994 game, Super Metroid. A hobbyist studied the game in-depth and created a RAM map. From it: 7E:0B56 - 7E:0B57 Moves Samus this distance horizontally, ...

game-cartridge assembly snes  
asked by Andrew Cheong 52 votes
answered by pndc 53 votes

Where did the popularity of the `i` variable come from?

I have heard that the reason the i variable is used so much is because there was an old computer where each variable could only be a single letter and that reserved the variables a through h as ...

history programming  
asked by CJ Dennis 62 votes
answered by George Phillips 85 votes

How did people use ed?

ed was the standard Unix editor, and is present on all POSIX certified systems (though it's not installed by default in Debian, FWIW). It's a line editor (meaning, you can't see all the text at a ...

asked by Unix 85 votes
answered by Raffzahn 100 votes
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